What if you saw a little white school bus camped out on the side of the road with a sign that said "free tea" balanced in front. How would you react? While some may look suspiciously askance at the vehicle, Giuseppe Spadafora who owns the mobile tea bus says that many people surprise themselves when they satisfy their curiosity and step into his transient tea hut.
When he first began serving tea in this fashion, however, he wasn't expecting the warm welcome that he received. Almost a decade ago, Spadafora was working in LA as a videographer and found that he was spending all of his time throwing himself into work with not much chance for social interaction outside of his job.
In order to change that pattern, he decided to conduct a nightly tailgate off Hollywood Boulevard. Every night for three months, he would cook a little bit of dinner and a lot of tea, and offer his humble preparations to passersby who were hungry for sustenance and conversation.
Slowly but surely he began to create friendships and realized that he was on to something. In the hope of continuing to cultivate the mishmash of humanity that would frequently seat themselves at his truck over a cup of hot tea, Spadafora decided to take his tea wagon on the road.
What the Tea Bus Creates
On his website, he explains the inspiration behind his journey from Los Angeles around the country saying, "This small offering made to people was enough to create friendships between all classes and colors, spark conversations on hundreds of topics, put a human face on those involved, and create a strong community."
Over time he has found that by sharing knowledge, stories, and cups of tea, the tea bus helps to create "community, health, peace, sustainability, and genuine human interactions." In short, the tea bus is about community.
An Alternative Community
Collecting grease in Alabama. Southern hospitality is so true. The first two restaurants we asked offered us their waste vegetable oil, giving us about 400 miles of travel distance. Going to spend a few hours today running it through the centrifuge. #relationshipbasedeconomy #sharingeconomy #DIYlifestyle #skoolie #vanlife #WVO
When you board the bus, remember you're stepping off society's prescribed path and into "alternative to self-centered, over-consumptive, overcompetitive, under-competent, and high-speed philosophies often fostered by our society."
According to the website, there are three tenants to embracing a lifestyle filled with genuine community and copious amounts of free tea.
(1) The gift economy - the idea that goods and services can be given without anything required in return. We all have something in abundance to share.
(2) The slow movement - the idea that everything has it's own speed at which it is done best, and that we often focus too much on getting things done fast. We bring the slowness!
(3) Do-It-Yourself (DIY) or Do-It-Together (DIT) - becoming more directly in control of taking care of our necessities and desires.
How Can You Join the Free Tea Party?
Wow! So honored to be featured in @teatimemagazine, and written about by the one and only James Norwood Pratt. "Proof positive that tea is a moveable feast was the mobile tearoom hosted—in fact created and driven—by a fellow tea apostle named Guisepi. His mission is to serve tea for free to all comers wherever he parks his bus, opens the side with its customized tea bar, and hangs out his sign “Free Tea.” Guisepi is the incarnation for our time of the old tea seller of Kyoto, who actually never sold a cup of tea. Like old Baisao, young Guisepi accepts donations but never charges. His ingeniously designed tearoom is spotless and beautiful, like the tea spirit he spreads from town to town. Why not invite him to yours?" - James Norwood Pratt NOTE: I do not in fact accept monetary donations while serving tea. http://www.teatimemagazine.com/why-cant-we-all-just-get-oolong/ Photo: @tealettea #Baisao #Freeteabus #freeteaparty #tea0cents
Other than that, just keep your ear to the ground. You may hear rumblings about a vagabond teahouse that is pouring out cups of camaraderie as it passes through.
"Whatever the situation,
Whatever the race or creed,
Tea knows no segregation,
No class or pedigree.
It knows no motivation,
No sect or organization,
It knows no one religion,
Nor political belief."
Have a Cuppa Tea
- The Kinks